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Medical marijuana moguls: Who's scored the most from the pot boom?

Categories: Marijuana

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A recent investment report coming out of Colorado has been turning heads and making headlines. Medical marijuana sales in states where it's legal has reached $1.7 billion, just under the $1.9 billion generated annually by Viagra sales. That's some serious green, but it begs a major question: Who, specifically, is benefiting from all those sales? In other words, where are Colorado's marijuana moguls?

Local writer Greg Campbell broached that topic in a recent article for CNN Money. While originally Colorado's ganja growth "seemed to promise piles of easy money," writes Campbell, these days medical marijuana center owners are experiencing just 6 to 8 percent revenue growth -- if they're making money at all.

Why the change? Campbell highlights a variety of obstacles standing in the way of would-be marijuana magnates:

  • The state's new marijuana laws regulating the statewide distribution of marijuana, while a landmark development worldwide, have imposed $7,500 to $18,000 licensing fees on MMC owners.
  • These regulations have also added restrictive and costly new rules on businesses that originally enjoyed free reign. That includes security obligations, employee background checks and careful inventory control. A year-long moratorium on new dispensaries, imposed last summer, has also greatly restricted growth -- and it's possible that moratorium may be extended.
  • Colorado communities are also now allowed to ban MMJ businesses if their voters choose to do so -- adding even greater uncertainty to an industry that's already operating under the specter of the federal marijuana prohibition.
  • MMCs also now have to grow 70 percent of their product themselves. Not only has that devastated a once-thriving independent grow-facility industry, but it's forced MMC owners to invest in expensive grow rooms and risk financial disaster if their crops fail.
Still, somebody is surely enjoying a financial windfall thanks to the marijuana boom -- and the smart money would be on entrepreneurs from out of state. The state's new MMJ rules, which powerful pot lobbying groups helped shape, clearly benefit large, established operations over mom and pops. And while MMC owners now must have lived in the state for two years, the first wave of out-of-state investors have been allowed to keep operating thanks to a convenient grandfather clause.

So, where exactly are Colorado's marijuana millionaires? Most likely in California and Texas.

More from our Marijuana archive: "High Times Cannabis Cup report: Pot critic William Breathes catches the buzz (PHOTOS)."



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13 comments
solar_satellite
solar_satellite

The IRS and the Injustice Department want to know, too. Colorado's cannabis-millionaires had better be headed somewhere without an extradition treaty with the U.S. The failure of these characters to politically educate and organize patients ranks them with the stupidest and greediest capitalists of all time.

DenverScener
DenverScener

Until CO's 70% rule on Growing, the old adage hung true - the Growers are the millionaires. Anyone been to Humboldt lately? Filled with million dollar crops and millionaire growers. However, CA is going non-profit in most cities although Oakland is not and does have a few Marijuana Moguls.

Colin
Colin

was that the whole article? lwhat a jerkaround. boy he sure revealed who the big moguls are. crazy ass michael lee is one

Colin
Colin

chris romer is incompetent. chris romer is an imbecile. I will be shocked if he raises above his current level

Boulder Med Cannabis
Boulder Med Cannabis

thank Chris Romer, and think carefully before you vote for him. The rules he wrote are costing our state many many millions.

Debby K. in San Diego
Debby K. in San Diego

Good Question but the easier question to answer is "who has lost the most in the 'marijuana boom'?" That answer is the users who are getting jacked to the tune of $20 dollars per gram -- black market pricing in a supposedly legal environment. Pot used to be about rebellion, now its just a rip off.

lamedicalmarijuana
lamedicalmarijuana

The real winners are Mexican drug cartels who can bribe local official and overtake dispensaries

Lawyers benefit and politic to create legal grey areas so that patients get tied up in courts

Prison guard union and the industrial prison complex gets big $$ too

Jake Browne
Jake Browne

If Willie Nelson can't pay his taxes, what chance do ganjapreneurs stand?

Guest
Guest

Romer MUST be stopped - but I don't know how it's going to be done. He's got the lion's share of the money, the Denver Post behind him, and he seems to have everyone else fooled. When it comes to Colorado Medical Marijuana - Chris Romer is an insidious wolf in sheep's clothing. And it amazes me that only a few seem to be able to see it.

Zenhound
Zenhound

Twenty a gram is nuts. That's like premium prices from 9 months ago. Prices have dropped since. Plenty of places are selling quality meds for 25 an eighth. It'll be interesting to see where they level out as the market and onerous regulations settle into each other.

Guest
Guest

This is one of the most un-informed and ignorant comments I have ever read

Will Breathes
Will Breathes

You must smoke some awful weed if you think the Mexican cartels can overtake dispensaries with compressed schwag shipped across the border in gasoline tanks.

solar_satellite
solar_satellite

Romer has far more name recognition than the other candidates, and more money, but many, many people besides cannabis-users dislike him intensely. All we have to do to get a better Mayor is to vote for his opponent.

Vote Linkhart for Mayor!www.douglinkhart.net/

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